Applications of SAXS: Self-assembled Structures

Martin's Molecule
Martin's Molecule

[Ed: It looks like there is more interest than I thought in the field of SAXS; the “Everything SAXS” review paper has been downloaded over 10000 times!]

One more application we found for small-angle scattering was to research structures molecules assemble in when immersed in liquids. Many of us are familiar with the micellar structures that appear in water-based solutions, but what happens in other solvents?

In this video, we revisit the excellent work of Dr. Martin Hollamby. He synthesized molecules containing a solvophilic and a solvophobic segment, which he then put in nonpolar liquids such as hexane and decane.

As evident from a whole host of techniques, the molecules also arrange in such solvents to form interesting structures, including an arrangement into a very long fibre-like structure! Since small-angle scattering is one of the few non-destructive techniques that can be applied without removal of solvent (which would have destroyed the structure), it was a prime candidate to apply.

Martin used both neutron as well as X-ray scattering to investigate the morphology of the material, and managed to get very good fits using a classical core-shell fitting model. I was involved in the measurement and data correction of the SAXS data, and had many discussions with Martin as to how to fit the scattering. More information in the paper here (and in a very nice highlight here), on Martin’s site here, and on my site here and here.

Anyway, on to the short video of this. I hope you like it!


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